Upcoming building projects: exciting new architectural highlights in 2021

With seemingly impossible constructions, innovative technologies and new concepts for sustainable buildings, architects are always pushing the boundaries of their art. A number of remarkable building projects are nearing completion in 2021, and we’d like to present three of them in more detail here.

1. Aquarela by Jean Nouvel: a green residential complex that complements the mountain landscape

The name Jean Nouvel is a byword for spectacular architectural highlights. In Ecuador, the French Pritzker Prize winner’s latest major project is currently in the final stage of construction.

The Aquarela residential complex rises impressively from the Cumbaya district of Quito and complements the surrounding mountain landscape with its organic structure. The approx. 130,500 m³ project consists of nine residential blocks clad in stone. Native plants climb and entwine around the stone shell, and between them curved balconies emerge like rock formations.

Behind the leafy façade, the development will offer its residents a range of amenities. These include leisure and sports facilities such as a bowling alley, a mini-golf course and tennis court, a spa, sauna and gym, and a hairdresser, as well as event and conference rooms. Large windows and landscaped open spaces also bring nature inside Aquarela. For the interior design, Nouvel worked with local architects Uribe & Schwarzkopf.

Aquarela from Jean Nouvel. Source: Uribe Schwarzkopf / YouTube

2. Green Solution House by 3XN: extending a climate-positive hotel in Denmark

On the island of Bornholm, even more guests will be able to stay at Denmark’s first climate-positive hotel as of this year. The Green Solution House (Hotel GSH) in Rønne is being extended with a new building containing 24 additional rooms, a conference room and a spa area on the roof. The Danish architectural firm 3XN planned the construction, cladding and insulation of the building entirely in wood.

This natural building material is an essential part of the sustainable overall concept. Combined with upcycled materials for the interior furniture and surfaces, the new building will not just be climate-neutral but will actually absorb more CO2 than it produces. For example, rubble from local granite quarries was used to decorate the conference room. Because granite stores heat and cold, it helps to regulate the temperature of the room. The main building of the GSH Hotel opened in 2015 and was also designed by 3XN.

3. Little Island by Heatherwick Studio: a floating park above the water

In New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood, a new architectural highlight by Heatherwick Studio is taking shape. Little Island will replace an old pier on the Hudson River and is one of a number of projects designed by the London-based firm along the river. An artificial landscape featuring around 100 different species of trees and shrubs is being created on a 1.1-hectare site.

The parkland with lawns, paths and rolling slopes is supported by 132 mushroom-shaped concrete pillars. The giant plant containers appear to float above the river on poles ranging in height from 4.5 to 18.9 metres. The elevations on Little Island offer various views of the city, and it will also be a public space for events, arts and educational programs.

Little Island from Heatherwick Studio. Source: the Dronalist / YouTube

The 2021 upcoming building projects point to some major trends in modern construction: our residential and living spaces will not only be more open and comfortable in the future,

but also greener, more sustainable and more energy-efficient. Whether or not you’re interested in architecture, that’s something to be excited about.

What new buildings do you find particularly exciting and impressive? Share your architectural highlights in the comments section.


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